Update  Journalist faces lesser charge of insubordination

August 28, 2006
Original Alert: May 2, 2006

Viktor Shmakov, Provintsialnye Vesti

The regional prosecutor in the republic of Bashkortostan charged Shmakov, 63, founder and editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Provintsialnye Vesti (Provincial News), with the lesser charge of “calling for insubordination to legal authorities.”

According to the Moscow-based news agency Regnum, Shmakov could now face up to three years in prison if convicted. The Prosecutor’s Office initially charged the editor with using the media to call for extremist activities and organizing mass unrest, an offense punishable by 10 years imprisonment.

Shmakov and his lawyers will familiarize themselves with the case files prepared by investigators, which contain several volumes of material, the independent radio station Ekho Moskvy quoted him as saying.

Shmakov told local journalists that the first charges were issued to give investigators the right to detain him, Regnum reported. Shmakov spent more than 20 days in custody before the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan ordered his release on May 16.

Local press reported that Shmakov is eligible for amnesty according to a parliament resolution that pardons individuals, including men over 60 years of age, charged with lesser crimes.

For more information on this case see: http://www.cpj.org/news/2006/europe/russia02may06na.html